Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dear Indie Producer Intro

Dear Readers,

I've been remiss in posting. Forgive me. Summer has sprung here in the Great North (Minneapolis/St. Paul), and I've been playing hooky with my toddler and husband in the glorious weather.

Let's see if I can do some catching up here.

I've had this idea for a format to include in this blog, and it's a feature along the lines of "Dear Abby" for fellow creative producers. I'm not the end-all, be-all of advice for all things indie producing, but it'll give me some structure to work with to get at all the thoughts and experiences I've had (or would like to have) out of my head and here for you to cogitate on. Plus, I'll pose people's questions to fellow producers over time and present their answers, too!

So, our first question is from filmmaker Kat in Austin, Texas:

Dear Indie Producer,

How do you find projects?

Truth be told, Kat is one my former partners in an indie film production company in Austin, Texas, Storie Productions. Together with our fellow partner/producer, Stacy Schoolfield, we produced Kat's feature drama, jumping off bridges, which premiered at the 2005 SXSW film festival.
  • I got involved with job because I believed in its writer-director, Kat's, directing skills and in her script.
  • I recognized that our team brought formidable skills to the table, and that we were all hungry and determined to get a small, indie feature made in 2004 - come Hell or high water. I knew we could hustle our asses off to break down the script, create the business plan, secure attorneys, secure equipment, secure investors, cast actors and deal with SAG paperwork, secure locations, crew, and the billion other details it took to pull a film together.
  • It was a script that could be shot on an ultra-low budget (few locations, no big effects, no cast of thousands) and in our immediate surroundings, Austin. We had a great pool of crew and local acting talent to work with, most of whom had worked with one or more of us before, and who wanted to support Kat's project. There was a lot of goodwill in the local film community for us.
Looking forward, how I seek projects still comes down to the script - it has to grab me. I know when one has me when it gets under my skin and I can't stop thinking about it. Also, scripts that leave me with lots of visual recollections of the story and characters get me excited. If I'm seeing scenes in my head from a script, that's a good sign.

Where do I find them?

I've found them by running a statewide screenplay competition, seeking out filmmakers whose films I've liked (that's how I met Kat), by teaching workshops and coaching filmmakers and writers, by querying screenwriting/filmmaking instructors about their students, and by reading scripts for national screenwriting competitions. I can also contact fellow producers, writers, production friends, and so on and tell them the genre and budget level I'm seeking and ask for their referrals/recommendations.

So, how did this first question and response strike you? Too much, too little?

By all means, send me questions you'd like to see addressed, and I'll add them to future postings. :)

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